Soccer’s global body FIFA lost a fight to block free TV access to World Cup matches after the European Union’s highest court said top games should be available to all viewers if governments insist.What a relief for soccer fans from England and Belgium! U.S. fans? Not so much. You're still at the mercy of cable networks like ESPN, Fox Sports (in 2015 and beyond), and internet service providers. In 2010, Time Warner Cable blocked access to ESPN3, which had exclusive rights to show the games online in 2010. Going into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it is unclear whether Time Warner Cable customers will be left offline again, but at least we can count a victory for our friends across the pond.
The EU Court of Justice also ruled that European body UEFA can’t prevent fans with access to a TV from watching national teams in European Championship matches for free.
The court in Luxembourg said today it’s for EU countries alone “to determine the events which are of major importance” and available to anyone with a TV set.
A ruling in FIFA’s favor could have ended decades of tradition in the U.K., where the World Cup, the most-watched sporting event, must be shown on free television channels including the British Broadcasting Corp.
In the meantime, you can catch Landon Donovan and the red hot American squad take on El Salvador in CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament on Sunday, July 21, 4 PM ET on Fox or Univision.